Independence hires Robert Henderson as next head football coach

Henderson previously spent one season as the head coach at Cherryvale

INDEPENDENCE, Ks. – Independence high school hires Robert Henderson as the school’s next head football coach.

“We’re excited to have him be a part of the Bulldog family,” says Independence’s athletic director, Marcus Lanning. “His energy and excitement was what sold us in the interview. His experience in multiple states and his college experience stood out. I have a lot of friends who have spoken highly of how good of a coach he is.”

Henderson comes from Cherryvale High School. He spent one year as the Chargers head coach, going 3-6 in that year.

“As a coach and a competitor, going to a bigger school and being around better athletes and more athletes was a very attractive to me,” Henderson says. “I want the coaches and players at Independence to know that I’m a high energy guy and I’m all about us. I want everybody to succeed in whatever their role is and find ways to do that.”

A large part of Henderson’s coaching philosophy focuses on connecting with his athletes.

“I think the kids have to know how much you care about them before you can coach them hard,” Henderson says. “I care about what they’re doing in the classroom and I care about what they’re doing out in the community. Once they understand that, I’m able to coach them pretty hard. I hold them to a very high standard.”

He plans to start building those connections right away.

“Cherryvale gets out of school May 10th and Independence isn’t out until I think May 23rd. Those two weeks are going to be a really good opportunity for me to get in front of the kids while they’re still in school. My plan is to roam the halls a little bit and talk to kids. I want to try to get some more kids out but also build relationships with the kids I know I already have.”

Henderson’s goals for Independence football go beyond the varsity level.

“The big thing for me is making sure than when they come in as seventh graders, that they’re using the same verbiage and hearing the same thing from all the coaches from the time they’re seventh graders to the time they graduate,” Henderson says. “The big thing for me is making sure guys get reps, including those JV players. I think that’s the most important way to develop kids and have them ready by the time they’re juniors and seniors to produce on Friday nights.”

Henderson takes over for John Black. Black spent three years as the Bulldogs coach before moving on to KC-Piper.

“Coach Black has done a great job building the program and making it better every year,” Lanning says. “I think coach Henderson will build off that.”